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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Suit filed seeking rent over 'temporary' water line through Elizabethton man's yard

September 7th, 2011 6:43 am by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — In a front-page story in Sunday’s Johnson City Press, Kenneth Bass described how his patience was wearing thin in the long delay in removing a 12-inch waterline belonging to the city of Elizabethton from his front yard.

Heavy rains on Monday eroded what little patience Bass had left. He said with the rains came the large puddles that form around the line, especially at the bend where the line goes back below ground. The result was a trip to the Carter County Circuit Court’s office on Tuesday, where Bass took out a civil warrant in Sessions Court against the city and City Manager Fred Edens. He claims the city owes him around $620 in rent for having the waterline on his property.

There is no doubt the heavy rains on Monday added to Bass’ frustrations.

“Water was shooting up a couple of feet,” Bass said. Bass contended in the story that the water is coming from an abandoned line that runs under his house. He has asked the city to cap the old line. The city contends the water is naturally flowing spring water. Edens said Bass lives next to a very productive stream and also lives in a flood plain.

While the two sides continue to debate the source of the leaks, Bass said one thing that is not in contention is that the above ground large waterline in his front yard was supposed to be only a temporary expedient until a bypass line could be constructed. The city agrees, but says the work can’t be accomplished until a state revolving fund loan comes through.

Bass said his original agreement with the city was to allow the waterline to be on his property for one year. That year was over in June. He said he is now due $10 per day for every day the water line remains on his property.

Elizabethton City Attorney Roger Day said to the best of his knowledge the city had not been served with Bass’ suit by the end of the business day on Tuesday. Day said there was never a formal agreement for the city to pay Bass rent for the right to have the waterline on Bass’ property.

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